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United States Post Office Department facts for kids

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United States Post Office Department
Seal of the United States Department of the Post Office.svg
Agency overview
Formed February 20, 1792
Dissolved July 1, 1971
Superseding agency
Agency executive

The Post Office Department is the former name of the United States Postal Service when it was a Cabinet department. It was headed by the United States Postmaster General.

The Postal Service Act signed by President George Washington on February 20, 1792 established the Department. Postmaster General John McLean was the first to call it the Post Office Department rather than just the "Post Office." The organization became more important in the government when President Andrew Jackson asked his Postmaster General, William T. Barry, to sit as a member of the Cabinet.

During the Civil War, postal services in the Confederacy were provided by the Confederate States of America Post Office Department, headed by Postmaster General John Henninger Reagan.

The Postal Reorganization Act signed by President Richard Nixon on August 12, 1970, replaced the cabinet-level Post Office Department with the independent United States Postal Service. The Act took effect on July 1, 1971.

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